Apple has today launched its new Data and Privacy website, allowing Apple users to download everything that Apple personally associates with your account, from Apple ID info, App Store activity, AppleCare history to data stored in iCloud like photos and documents. This is currently only available for European Union accounts, to comply with GDPR, and will roll out worldwide in the coming months.
There are also simple shortcuts to updating your info, temporarily deactivating your account and options to permanently delete it. Here’s how to do it …
The new online tools allow customers to get a copy of all data associated with an Apple ID. You can request account details and sign-in records and data such as contacts, calendars, notes, bookmarks, reminders, photos and documents. Apple also stores info like app usage statistics for Apple Music and Game Center, a purchase history of items bought from the App Store and iTunes Store, AppleCare support history and marketing records.
Only data that is personally identifiable can be found here. This can all be downloaded with a few simple clicks on the privacy portal. Note data like iCloud Photos will take a long time to generate as there are potentially tens of gigabytes of files.
It can take up to a week to prepare the downloads. Apple notifies you when the data is ready to download, and it is automatically deleted after 2 weeks.
To obtain a copy of your data, log in to privacy.apple.com. Note this feature is currently only available to customers in European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. It will be rolled out internationally later this year.
Select the Get started link under the ‘Obtain a copy of your data’ heading.
You can then simply tick the boxes of the categories of data you want to download. You can press ‘Select All’ to pick everything. iCloud Photos, Mail and Drive are separated into a separate list as this data may be exceptionally large. Then, press Continue.
You can now select what is your preferred maximum file size. Apple will split up the data into chunks, up to a maximum of 25 GB. Select a size and press Continue. Your data request is now in progress. You will get an email when the files are available to download.
Apple says it provides all data in standards-compatible formats. This means it can be used as a way to move all your data to a new cloud service, as well as transparently showing customers what data Apple keeps on you (very little).
Whilst these features will roll out later in the year for other regions, all customers can request data corrections, deactivate or delete their account. You can do this by following the links on the main page.
Deactivation means that Apple will stop processing any data relating to your Apple ID. You will not be able to access any store purchases from iTunes, iBooks or the App Store. You will not be able to access any iCloud data, or use iCloud services like FaceTime or iMessage. See here for more conditions about account deactivation.
You are literally cutting yourself off from the Apple connected world. Apple will verify all deactivation requests to prevent abuse. Apple doesn’t delete your info, it just stops anyone — including Apple — from accessing it whilst the account is deactivated. You can re-enable the account by logging back in to the privacy portal and choosing to reactivate it.
Permanent deletion takes this one step further, essentially asking Apple to remove all data they have stored on you — forever. This process is not reversible once initiated.
Apple has deployed these features just in time to comply with new GDPR regulation that goes into effect at the end of the month. Due to Apple’s strong stance on privacy, there really aren’t many surprises here in what info is collected on Apple’s servers.
The GDPR regulation requires internet companies allow all EU citizens to see what personally-identifiable data they store about them. However, Apple has pledged to eventually deploy these tools to all Apple users, worldwide.